Monday, October 30, 2017

Women, Business and George Washington

March 27, 2015 by Julie Miller, 
Early American historian in the Manuscript Division.
Library of Congress Blog

In 1766, Philadelphia shopkeeper Rebecca Steel advertised that she had for sale “Dry Goods, Bohea, Green, Hyson, and Congo Teas &c. as usual, at the most reasonable Rates,” and also “a Parcel of fine silks” that she would “sell low” (Pennsylvania Gazette, Oct. 9, 1766). In the same advertisement she warned her customers that if they didn’t “make speedy payment,” she would “be put to the disagreeable Necessity of suing.” A decade later, in the thick of the Revolutionary War, George Washington bought tea from Steel. He didn’t have to worry about being sued, however, since he paid his bill. We know this because the receipt, (Feb. 10, 1777) signed by Thomas Mifflin, quartermaster general of the Continental Army, is in his papers at the Library of Congress.

Steel’s receipt is just one among many pieces of evidence in Washington’s papers that he regularly did business with women. Many of the women he dealt with were poorer and less formidable than Rebecca Steel. In New York on Sept. 20, 1776, he paid a woman six shillings to wash his “plain shirts,” stocks (a kind of 18th-century necktie), stockings and a silk handkerchief. The bill he signed identifies her only as a “servant of Major Leach in the camp.” (See this story from the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog about another laundress who worked for Washington during the Revolutionary War.) Hannah Till, a servant who worked at Washington’s headquarters at Morristown, N.J., signed the receipt for wages she received on June 23, 1780, with an X, the mark used in place of a signature by people who did not know how to write. These were temporary jobs for poor women with limited skills who were available to work for Washington as he moved around from place to place during the Revolutionary War.

Other women had more sophisticated skills or valuable goods to offer. Dorothy Shewcraft, for example, sold Washington a pair of andirons and a “scotch carpett” for his New York headquarters (May 6, 1776), and Hannah Stewart made him “table cloths and two towels” when he was headquartered in West Point (Aug. 14, 1779). Both Shewcraft and Stewart signed the receipts they received from Washington with clear, neat signatures. Widow Ann Emerson, housekeeper in Washington’s Philadelphia household while he was president, came so highly recommended that she felt confident enough to bargain for her salary, declining to accept less than £50 per year, a price, Washington’s secretary reported, that was “much too high.” Emerson also won the privilege of keeping her 7-year-old daughter with her, even though Martha Washington “had rather it should not be brought into the family.” This was a standard objection on the part of employers of live-in servants. (Tobias Lear to George Washington, May 1, 1791).

Much of the work that women did for pay in early America was an extension of household work. Women kept gardens and sold produce, kept chickens and sold eggs, and kept cows and sold dairy products. Young, unmarried women often went to work as servants for their neighbors as a way to experience a little independence and build a nest egg before marriage. Nearly all women were constantly at work spinning, weaving, sewing, knitting, mending and washing. Women delivered babies and provided nursing for their families and neighbors. In a world in which there were no grocery stores, clothing stores and sometimes, especially on the frontier, no trained doctors, these women provided not only for their households but also for their communities.

Some women, however, stepped into traditionally male domains, operating printshops and publishing newspapers, managing land, farming, and owning shops, merchant and manufacturing firms, and trading ships. Typically these women were widows. According to Anglo-American law in this period, when a woman married, her husband took control of her property and the money she earned legally belonged to him. When a woman’s husband died, however, she could regain her economic autonomy and in some cases get control of family property and businesses. Some wives had been supporting their husbands’ businesses with their money or labor long before they owned them as widows.

Washington dealt with several such widows. From the 1760s through the early 1770s, when in accord with revolutionary boycotts he stopped importing goods from England, he repeatedly bought nails, hinges, padlocks and other metal supplies from the British firm of Theodosia Crowley and Co. Crowley was in her 30s when her husband, heir to one of England’s great ironworks, died and left her the business until her sons were old enough to take over. They lived long enough to do so, but when they too died young, Crowley took over the business again and ran it herself with the help of a series of managers. By the time she died at 88 in 1782, she had run the business for a total of 38 years. Not only had she outlived her husband by more than half a century, she also outlived all 6 of her children. (For Washington’s purchases from Crowley, see, for example, Robert Cary, invoices, March 1760, March 1761 or April 1762).

During the revolution, Washington dealt not only with Rebecca Steel, the Philadelphia tea merchant, but also with Ann Van Horne, a New York wine merchant. In April 1776, just before Washington arrived in New York City to face the British ships that were gathering threateningly in the harbor, the steward and housekeeper in charge of setting up his headquarters ordered 37 bottles of wine from Van Horne. Unlike Hannah Till, who could not sign her name, Van Horne signed hers in a clear, firm hand. Van Horne had married into a family of New York merchants, one of whom was her husband, Garrit Van Horne, who had died by 1765. He seems to have respected her business abilities, since he made her a co-executor of his will. Advertisements in New York newspapers in the 1760s and 1770s show her managing his estate, selling Madeira, claret, brandy, sugar and Cheshire cheese, and also substantial land holdings and a slave. (New York Mercury, Sept. 23, 1765; New York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, Aug. 12, 1771).

The following winter Washington purchased tea from Rebecca Steel. Like Ann Van Horne, Steel was a widow and the co-executor of the estate of her husband, James Steel (Pennsylvania Gazette, Dec. 2, 1742). Historian Karin Wulf identifies her as one of Philadelphia’s handful of “elite” women shopkeepers. One of her frequent customers was Quaker Philadelphian Catherine Drinker, whose detailed diary records her visits to Steel’s shop and her husband Henry Drinker’s attendance at her funeral in 1783. Steel’s life can also be traced in her advertisements in Philadelphia newspapers.

More long-lasting and complex was Washington’s business relationship with his Virginia neighbor, Penelope Manley French. French was a wealthy widow of Washington’s own age who owned land adjacent to Washington’s that he very much wanted to buy but that she did not want to sell. Her ownership of the land took the form of a life interest that would pass to her only child, Elizabeth, at her death. When Elizabeth married in 1773, two years after the death of her father, Daniel French, Washington commented: “Our celebrated Fortune, [Miss] French, whom half the world was in pursuit of, bestowd her hand on Wednesday last . . .” (Washington to Burwell Bassett, Feb. 15, 1773). Penelope French’s land formed a part of the fortune that Elizabeth French brought to her husband, Benjamin Dulany. (The Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg, which contained the Dulanys’ marriage announcement, was published by widow Clementina Rind. The following year, Virginia’s House of Burgesses, of which Washington was a member, appointed her the colony’s printer).

French held out against Washington for many years. But despite her display of determination, there is not a single letter between her and Washington in his papers. All her communication with him was carried out through male surrogates, her son-in-law and her half-brother, William Triplett. Eventually she gave in – partially. In 1786 Penelope French agreed, not to an outright sale, but to a rental of the land for the duration of her lifetime. But even after she agreed to it, French didn’t make it easy for Washington to conclude the deal. When in September 1786 Washington rode over to William Triplett’s to meet with French and sign the papers, he found Triplett sick in bed and French absent. He and Triplett signed the papers a month later in court in Alexandria, without her (Diary, Sept. 16 and Oct. 16, 1786).

Washington continued to work around French. In a 1799 letter to Benjamin Dulany about a related arrangement (Washington to Benjamin Dulany, July 15, 1799) in which he was renting slaves from French, Washington carefully writes, “I thought it respectful & proper however, to couple her name with yours” and acknowledges Dulany’s own interest in the deal, since the slaves would “ultimately, descend to you, or yours.” (Washington to Benjamin Dulany, Sept. 12, 1799.) Washington was treading difficult territory here. On one hand he scrupulously named French, who was after all the one he was doing business with; at the same time he reminded her son-in-law, who was acting for her, of his own stake in the deal. (The slaves who were the subject of the deal had no say at all.) Washington died that December; Penelope French outlived both him, and the arrangement she made with him, by almost six years (Penelope French obituary, Alexandria Advertiser, Oct. 19, 1805).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Woman Shopkeeper in 1769 Boston, Mrs. James Smith (Elizabeth Murray)

Mrs. James Smith (Elizabeth Murray) Boston, 1769, by John Singleton Copley (American artist, Boston, 1738–1815)

Elizabeth Murray was born in & spent the 1st 12 years of her life in Unthank, Scotland, until her older brother James, an up-&-coming merchant, brought her to his new North Carolina home to be his housekeeper. In this capacity, Murray learned the attendant responsibilities, such as "keeping accounts with local merchants & vendors, selecting & purchasing the items needed for household consumption, overseeing the work of any servants, & performing numerous chores associated with housecleaning & preparing food & clothing" 

At 17, she moved with James & his new bride to London, where Murray saw the city bustling with shop-owning women who sold wide arrays of cloth & other popular goods from all over the world. Also, London, offered her a chance to see the latest fashions in ladies' clothing. Sailing back to America, the Murrays stopped in Boston, where Elizabeth Murray, now 23, decided to stay in the bustling commercial hub to open her own shop. Because many urban women were running taverns & small schools, it was considered an appropriate extension of women's acceptable domestic duties to support themselves through businesses they ran out of their homes.

Backed by her brother's mercantile connections in Great Britain, Elizabeth established credit in the commercial world & was able to sell the latest fashions from London in her Boston shop. She advertised in local newspapers, such as the Boston Gazette & the Boston Evening-Post, showcasing both her world-class ladies' apparel & her talents as a teacher of "Needle Works." Additionally, Elizabeth allowed her female students to board with her, to supplement her income. After a trip to London to make more business connections, Elizabeth returned to Boston & sent for James' daughter Dolly, wanting to give her the chance to pursue the "superior educational opportunities" in the northern city. Dolly worked under both Elizabeth & other local women to gain an education in arithmetic, shop-keeping, reading, & sewing.

In 1755, Elizabeth married trader & ship's captain, Thomas Campbell, thereby trading in her status as an independent single woman for the protection (& legal limitations) of couverture. Their union signified a business partnership, in which Thomas handled the larger commercial transactions, while Elizabeth only ran the shop. Additionally, she became part of a female network of shop-owners & teachers in Boston with whom she interacted & traded services with daily. However, by the age of 32, Elizabeth became widowed, when Thomas unexpectedly died of the measles in 1759.

By 1760, Elizabeth married for a 2nd time to a wealthy, elderly widower named James Smith, who would change her financial status for the rest of her life. Under an unusual 18C prenuptial agreement, James stipulated that she would not be rendered personally, legally, or financial dependent under couverture. This meant that Elizabeth would be allowed to keep all of her own money that she had earned as a shopkeeper, & would be entitled to 1/3 of his considerable estate, if he died before her. Because of their wealth, both Elizabeth & James stopped working & enjoyed a leisurely life in Brush Hill, outside of Boston. She did, however, continue to teach women the ways of shop-keeping & other business ventures, financially helping out young women like her nieces Dolly, Betsy, & Anne, as well as local up-&-coming merchants like Ame & Elizabeth Cumings. 

In the summer of 1769, Elizabeth Murray cared for her aging, infirm husband, James Smith, who died in early August. Shortly thereafter, the new widow began to make plans for a trip to England & Scotland. During these preparations, she sat for the above portrait by the renowned Boston-born artist John Singleton Copley. One of the colonies' most talented artists, Copley left America permanently in 1774, & settled in England.

For the rest of the story, see See: Patricia Cleary's Elizabeth Murray: A Woman's Pursuit of Independence in Eighteenth-Century America, 2000

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1797 Jacques Grasset of Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Costumes of Different Countries, Los Angeles County Art Museum

Across the 18C globe, dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

18C Women Shopkeepers in Boston as a Revolution was Rising

A Woman Shopkeeper of the 1790s, by an Unknown Scot Artist.


"As the sisters peered out their window on Boston’s Queen Street, they were too stricken by the horrid spectacle playing out on the night of October 28, 1769 to be able to fathom its significance. A controversial newspaper publisher was chased & nearly killed by “Skreeming” & enraged respectable gentlemen. On the heels of this narrow escape, a thousand-strong mob tarred & feathered a bloodied customs service employee “befor [the sisters’] Dorr.” The night’s events made clear that the women were no longer safe, even in their home.

"Violent street politics such as these would culminate with the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. In the wake of Parliament’s 1767 Townshend Acts, which levied customs duties on key imports to the colonies, explosive factionalism split Boston. Starting in March 1768, a new Committee of Merchants campaigned to halt the importation of British consumer goods.

"Caught up in the volatile politics of consumption were Elizabeth & Ame (pronounced “Amy”) Cuming, small-scale entrepreneurs in their mid-30s who imported fashionable wares from London. Their business of selling luxurious accessories was “very trifling,” as Elizabeth described it. In their own eyes, they were “two industrious Girls who ware Striving in an honest way to Git there Bread.” Unmarried & without an adult male guardian, they were financially independent. They would fight to retain that unusual status.

"The sisters were from nearby Concord. Their parents, natives of Scotland, had followed business opportunities in the wake of the increasing flow of trade between Great Britain & the colonies. These were not refugees starting over, but educated folk from Scotland’s upper ranks. Helen Cuming, Ame & Elizabeth’s mother, was the daughter of a baronet, a title that placed her family among the British aristocracy (though not the nobility). Their father died before the twentieth birthday of the elder Ame; their mother was gone soon thereafter. Their insufficient age may have prevented their brother John, a recent newlywed & on the path to a brilliant career in Concord, from securing them husbands. They did not wish to be wards of their brother. By 1765 they had relocated to Boston.

"In 18C colonial port communities, anywhere from 2–10% of shopkeepers were women. The ranks of Boston’s female entrepreneurs swelled with each passing decade. The number of newspaper advertisements for fashionable imported items sold by women increased. The Cuming sisters entered a network of Boston women in business. This network nourished their business acumen & provided them with credit, friendship, & social connections. They sold symbols of refinement to gentlewomen of means. They taught fine embroidery at their own school & boarded young ladies from the countryside in their home.

"Shopkeeping was an increasingly popular means of making a living for both men & women. Shopkeepers had begun to contract directly with London suppliers, flooding the port markets with an uncontrolled volume of consumer goods. A successful non-importation campaign would, as Massachusetts Royal Governor Francis Bernard observed, “affect middling & little Traders, many of whom must be ruined by it, whilst Men of Great Property & credit might be benefitted by it by becoming Monopolists.” The Cuming sisters were among the “little Traders;” a shipment of wares reaching them in late 1769 was 300 pounds sterling worth of wrought silk, sewing silk, & haberdashery. As Bernard knew, livelihoods dependent on constant cash flow & frequently changing fashions would not survive a long-term boycott of British consumer goods. Signing a non-importation agreement would put the sisters out of business.

"In mid-November, Ame & Elizabeth received a visit from the activist arm of the Merchants’ Committee. These men were aware that the sisters were selling the £300 shipment from London, “contrary to the aggremant of the Merchants.” The sisters defended themselves against these unwanted visitors with strong words, proclaiming that “[w]e have never antred into eney agreement not to import” & accusing the committeemen of “trying to inger” honest businesswomen. Either this group was reluctant to use violent tactics against women or they were messengers & not a street mob. They left with a threat that the young women “must tack the Conciquances” of their defiance.

"The “conciquances” entailed a very public outing on the front page of Boston’s newspaper of protest, the Boston Gazette. The Merchants’ Committee denounced the Cumings as “enemies to their country” who “preferred their own little private Advantage to the Welfare of America.” By Christmas, every Whig-leaning newspaper had added the Cummings to their list of heretics. On March 19, 1770 Boston’s Town Meeting voted that the sisters & nine others be “entred on the Records of this Town that POSTERITY may know who those Persons were that preferred their little private Advantage to the common Interest of all the Colonies […]; who not only deserted but opposed their Country in a struggle for the Rights of the Constitution.” The price to be paid for financial independence was too high. The Cuming sisters retreated to their small property in Concord.

"Though the Merchants’ Committee & those who enforced its aims never explicitly targeted Boston’s “she-merchants,” their niche position in that world of commerce guaranteed that women shopkeepers were vulnerable to the pressures of the boycott. Boston’s volatile politics drove the Cuming sisters from the port city. Elizabeth & Ame were among the over 1,000 Loyalist refugees who departed besieged Boston with the Regular Army troops in March 1776. As they watched Boston disappear from view, the ten years they had invested in attaining their own version of independence must have appeared wasted. Though the sisters did not understand themselves as political Loyalists, their insistence on their right to chart their fate as individuals had landed them irrevocably in the Loyalist camp. They settled in another port town: Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, again with the support of their friends, they made a new beginning. By 1780, “the Miss Cumings [were] well & doing well, by being thrown hither they [had] fallen on their feet & [were] more prosperous than ever they were in Boston.”

Sources & Further Reading:

T. H. Breen. The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Patricia Cleary. Elizabeth Murray: A Woman’s Pursuit of Independence in Eighteenth Century America (Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2000).
Patricia Cleary. “’Who shall say we have not equal abilitys with the Men when Girls of 18 years of age discover such great capacitys?’: Women of Commerce in Boston, 1750-1776.” In: Conrad Edick Wright, Katheryn P. Viens, eds. Entrepreneurs: The Boston Business Community, 1700-1850. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997, pp. 38-61.
Elise Lemire. Black Walden: Slavery & Its Aftermath in Concord, Massachusetts. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).
Pamela Parmal. “Fashionable Accomplishments: Faith Trumbull Huntington.” In: Women’s Work: Embroidery in Colonial Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 2012), pp. 99-124.
John W. Tyler. Smugglers & Patriots: Boston Merchants & the Advent of the American Revolution (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1986).

Monday, October 23, 2017

18C Portrait of an American Woman

Mrs. Jonathan Pinkney, Jr. (Elizabeth Munroe) 1798 by James Peale (American, Chestertown, Maryland 1749–1831 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The Metropolitan Museum of Art tells us that she lived in Annapolis, Maryland.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1797 Jacques Grasset of Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Costumes of Different Countries, Los Angeles County Art Museum 

Across the 18C globe, women's dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far away places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Baltimore Postmistress & Publisher Mary Katherine Goddard 1738-1816 & Her Rude Dismissal by George Washington

Mary Katherine Goddard (1738-1816) was the only daughter of Sarah Updike (1700-1770) & Dr. Giles Goddard (1703-1757), postmaster & physician in Groton & New London, Connecticut. Sarah taught her daughter & her younger son William (1740-1817) to write and read Shakespeare, Pope, & Swift among others.


After serving as a printer’s apprentice in Connecticut, William Goddard decided to try his hand at publishing a newspaper with the help of his sister & mother. Their father had died in 1757, leaving an estate of 780 pounds sterling. In 1762, William began his publishing career in Rhode Island, creating the Providence Gazette and Country Journal by using 300 pounds given him by his mother to set up a printing press in Providence. Expecting to print lots of newspapers, in 1764, Goddard entered a partnership with 3 other gentlemen and used more of his father's estate to help establish & operate the 1st paper mill in Rhode Island on the Woonasquatucket River.

A year later, William Goddard became frustrated at his lack of financial success & gave up editorship of the Rhode Island newspaper. He claimed that 2 New York gentlemen "who wished to see me employed on a more extensive theatre" enticed him to leave Rhode Island. His practical mother & sister Mary Katherine kept publishing the Providence newspaper from 1765 through 1768; after all, they owned the printing press.

Before the Revolution, Goddard, who now had moved from New York to Philadelphia "to find a more adventageous situation," had to use private carriers to get news past the prying eyes of the English Crown post. After joining others to publish the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser —a paper sympathetic to the revolutionary cause, the local Crown postmaster kept out-of-town newspapers from the press, depriving the publisher of critical news & information.

His mother, who had stayed in Providence operating the business she had paid for; finally sold the Providence press & followed him to Philadelphia with Mary Katherine. In Philadelphia, Sarah Goddard ran a bookstore until 1768, she died in 1770.

Mary Katherine published the Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser alone under her brother's name for the last year of its existence. Her erratic brother was too busy with politics to help in the everyday production. William was frequently jailed for public outbursts and rabble-rousing articles in the paper.

The Pennsylvania Chronicle and Universal Advertiser was driven out of business, when the Crown post refused to accept it for distribution in the mails. William Goddard retaliated politically by designing an American postal system founded upon the principles of open communication, no governmental interference, and free exchange of ideas.

Goddard presented his plan to the Continental Congress on October 5, 1774. The representatives were intrigued but tabled Goddard's plan; until the startling battles of Lexington & Concord in 1775. Soon after, on July 16, 1775, the new "Constitutional Post" was implemented by the Congress, ensuring communication between patriots & keeping the readers informed of events during the American Revolution. The new revolutionary post system forced the Crown post out of business in America on Christmas day, 1775, becoming the foundation of the United States' postal system. Once again pulling up roots, Willliam Goddard decided to attempt a new printing venture in Baltimore. By early 1774, Mary Katherine, who had been helping her brother & mother with their bookstore, newspaper, almanac, and printing ventures, moved south to help her brother; as he began to publish a newspaper in Baltimore.

The Maryland Journal was established by William Goddard August 20, 1773, the first newspaper to be printed in Baltimore. Goddard published the paper with the help of his sister until May 10, 1775, when Mary Katherine Goddard, became the editor & publisher. Until 1784, the newspaper appeared solely under her name.

Because of the new postal system, newpapers could now flow between the colonies without censorship; but new problems arose, as the Revolutionary War created a paper shortage for publishers. The war also sparked inflation leaving subscribers with little cash. To keep her newspaper publishing regularly, Mary Katherine accepted barter in beef, pork, animal food, butter, hog’s lard, tallow, beeswax, flour, wheat, rye, Indian corn, beans and other goods she could either use or sell in her shop.

In 1775, Mary Katherine took an additional job at the Baltimore Post Office. She became the first woman postmistress in the colonies.
The First Post Office in Baltimore. Photo from the Maryland Historical Society, also located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Under Mary Katherine Goddard, the Maryland Journal openly expressed the colonials' thirst for freedom from the crown, although she was willing to take a risk and publish a variety of political perspectives. Mary Katherine published reports of Massachusetts of April 19, 1775, triggering the Battles of Concord and Lexington. Her editorial of June 14, 1775, proclaimed, "The ever memorable 19th of April gave a conclusive answer to the questions of American freedom. What think ye of Congress now? That day. . . evidenced that Americans would rather die than live slaves!"
During the lean years of the Revolution, Postmistress Mary Katherine Goddard opened a book & stationary store in Baltimore, and kept her printing press busy publishing books & almanacs as well as her newspaper.

In January 1777, she printed the first copy of the Declaration of Independence to include the signers' names, before any other newspaper in the United States. In the summer of 1776, the signers were aware that they were committing treason and submitting to an overabundance of caution, omitted their names from the original publication of the document. Six months later, finally garnering the courage to publicly stand by their professed ideals, the Continental Congress authorized Goddard’s Maryland Journal to publish the Declaration with its signers’ names.

Mary Katherine Goddard's almanacs were also popular in the Chesapeake. In her 1782 Maryland and Virginia Almanack, Mary Katherine wrote, "From the extensive sale of this Almanack last year, the publisher would presume to think that her endeavors, in some measure, met with the approbation of the Public. Nothing can be more flattering than this idea, which cannot fail to excite in her the highest sense of gratitude, attended with future diligence and perseverance."

After he married, her mercurial brother decided that he wanted to return to the Baltimore publishing business and to run the newspaper and the press himself in 1784. He had never been successful at any occupation and was jealous of his sister's success. Wrenching control of the press was not without turmoil. Mary Katherine Goddard filed 5 lawsuits against her brother before severing her interest in the printing enterprise, which she had successfully managed for 10 years. After all, she still had her position as Baltimore's postmistress to rely on for income.

However, in September 1789, Samuel Osgood, the newly appointed national Postmaster General, decided that inexperienced political appointee John White of Baltimore should replace Goddard. The Assistant Postmaster General Jonathan Burrall was dispatched to Baltimore to give Mary Katherine Goddard the news; but unable to face her in person, he sent a note to her office. She was ordered to turn over her office to White, and told, "a younger person able to ride a horse" was needed.

Over 200 merchants & residents in Baltimore sent a petition and letters objecting to her removal to the Postmaster General. They received no reply. Believing she was still capable at age 51; just before Christmas, she wrote to President George Washington to have the order reversed. She wrote the letter in the 3rd person.

Baltimore, Decemr 23d 1789.
Dear Sir,


The Representation of Mary Katherine Goddard, Humbly sheweth--That She hath kept the Post Office at Baltimore for upwards of fourteen years; but with what degree of Satisfaction to all those concerned, She begs leave to refer to the number & respectability of the Persons who have publickly addressed the Post Master General & his Assistant, on the Subject of her late removal from Office; And as Mr Osgood has not yet favoured between two and three hundred of the principal Merchants & Inhabitants of Baltimore with an answer to their last application, transmitted to him by Post on the last Day of November ultimo,
nor with any Answer to sundry private Letters, accompanying the transcript of a like application, made to Mr Burrell when at Baltimore: She therefore, at the instance of the Gentlemen thus pleased to interest themselves on her behalf, lays before your Excellency, Superintendant of that department, as briefly as possible, the nature & circumstances, of what is conceived to be an extraordinary Act of oppression towards her.


That upon the dissolution of the old Government, when from the non importation Agreement and other causes incident to the Revolution, the Revenue of the Post-Office was inadequate to its disbursements, She accepted of the same, and at her own risque, advanced hard money to defray the Charges of Post Riders for many years, when they were not to be procured on any other terms; and that during this period, the whole of her Labour & Industry in establishing the Office was necessarily unrewarded; the Emoluments of which being by no means equal to the then high Rent of an Office, or to the Attention required both to receive & forward the Mails, as will evidently appear by the Schedule, here unto annexed,
and therefore, whoever thus established & continued the Office, at the gloomy period when it was worth no Person's Acceptance, ought surely to be thought worthy of it, when it became more valuable. And as it had been universally understood, that no Person would be removed from Office, under the present Government, unless manifest misconduct appeared, and as no such Charge could possibly be made against her, with the least colour of Justice, She was happy in the Idea of being secured both in her Office, and the Protection of all those who wished well to the prosperity of the Post Office, & the new Government in general.

That She has sustained many heavy losses, well known to the Gentlemen of Baltimore, which swallowed up the Fruits of her Industry, without even extricating her from embarrassment to this day, although her Accounts with the Post Office were always considered, as amongst the most punctual & regular of any upon the Continent; notwithstanding which She has been discharged from her Office, without any imputation of the least fault, and without any previous official notice: The first intimation on that head being an Order from Mr Burrell,
whilst at Baltimore, to deliver up the Office to the Bearer of his Note; and altho' he had been there several days, yet he did not think proper to indulge her with a personal Interview, thus far treating her in the Stile of an unfriendly delinquent, unworthy of common Civility, as well as common Justice. And although Mr White, who succeeded her, might doubtless have been meritorious in the different Offices he sustained, yet, She humbly conceives, he was not more deserving of public notice & protection in his Station, than She has uniformly been in hers: It must therefore become a matter of serious Importance & of peculiar distress to her, if Government can find no means of rewarding this Gentleman's Services, but at the Expence of all that She had to rely on, for her future dependence & subsistence.


That it has been alledged as a Plea for her removal, that the Deputy Post Master of Baltimore will hereafter be obliged to ride & regulate the Offices to the Southward but that She conceives, with great deference to the Post Master General, this is impracticable, & morally impossible; because the business of the Baltimore Office will require his constant Attendance, & he alone could give satisfaction to the people, if therefore the duties of the Assistant, Mr Burrells' Office are to be performed by any other than himself, surely it cannot well be attempted by those who are fully occupied with their own; and as two Persons must be employed, according to this new Plan, She apprehends, that She is more adequate to give Instructions to the Riding Post Master, how to act than any other Person possibly could, heretofore unexperienced in such business.She, therefore, most humbly hopes from your Excellency's Philanthropy and wonted Humanity, You will take her Situation into Consideration; and as the Grievance complained of, has happened whilst the Post Office Department was put under your auspicious Protection, by a Resolve of Congress, that Your Excellency will be graciously pleased to order, that She may be restored to her former Office, and as in duty bound, She will ever pray &c.
Mary K: Goddard


George Washington promply responded.

New York January 6th.1790
Madam,

In reply to your memorial of the 10th of December, which has been received, I can only observe, that I have uniformly avoided interfering with any appointments which do not require my official agency: and the Resolutions and Ordinances establishing the Post Office under the former Congress, and which have been recognized by the present Government, giving power to the Post-Master General to appoint his own Deputies, and making him accountable for their conduct, is an insuperable objection to my taking any part in this matter.

I have directed your Memorial to be laid before the Post-Master General who will take such measures thereon as his Judgment may direct.

I am, Madam. Your Most Obedt. Servt. Go: Washington


Puffing himself up, Postmaster Samuel Osgood responded the next day giving no reason for the appointment of White except the following: "From mature Consideration, I am fully convinced that I shall be more benefitted from the Services of Mr White than I could be from those of Mrs Goddard."

After receiving Washington's dismissive letter, she pressed her appeal for reinstatement & for payment of a claim against the United States in both the Senate and House of Representatives. She was unsuccessful in obtaining either compensation or reinstatment.

The 1790 Maryland Census reported she owned four slaves and had one other free person living in her household. From 1790 to 1802, she operated a bookstore in Baltimore.

By the canvass of the 1810 Maryland Census, Mary Katherine Goddard was living with just one female slave in her household. Mary Katherine died in Baltimore in August of 1816, at the age of 78, leaving all her personal possessions & real property to her African American servant Belinda Starling & releasing her from slavery.

Friday, October 20, 2017

18C Portrait of an American Woman

Mrs. Francis Brinley (1698–1761) and Her Son Francis (1729–1816).  1729 by John Smibert (American, Edinburgh, Scotland 1688–1751 Boston, Massachusetts) The Metropolitan Museum of Art tells us that she was born Deborah Lyde,  & that Mrs. Francis Brinley (1698–1761) was the daughter of Edward and Catherine Lyde and the granddaughter of Judge Nathaniel Byfield. When she married Francis Brinley in 1718, she was a woman of wealth and social prominence. An entry in Smibert's notebook dated May 1729 identifies the infant as the Brinley's son Francis (1729–1816). Mrs. Brinley holds a sprig of orange blossoms, a gesture which may have been taken from an 18C print by Sir Peter Lely. The white orange blossom symbolizes both marriage and purity, while the fruit, a sign of fertility, emphasizes Mrs. Brinley's role as a mother. Orange trees, although fashionable in Europe, were expensive rarities in the colonies. The presence of one here reinforces the sitter's wealth.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1797 Jacques Grasset of Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Costumes of Different Countries, Los Angeles County Art Museum 

Across the 18C globe, women's dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far away places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Sarah Updike Goddard (c. 1701-1770) Printer & Mother of a Spoiled Son & a Fine Daughter

Printer's workshop (18th century woodcut). British Library. Shelfmark Harl.5915.(215.)

Sarah Updike Goddard (c. 1701-Jan. 5, 1770), printer, was born at Cocumscussuc, one mile north of the village of Wickford, R.I., to Lodowick & Abigail (Newton) Updike. Her grandfather, Gysbert op Dyck, had emigrated from Wesel, Germany, to Lloyd’s Neck, Long Island, in 1635. In 1643 he was married to Katherine Smith, daughter of an early Rhode Island settler, Richard Smith. Their son, Lodowick (1646-1737), moved in 1664 from New Amsterdam to Kingston, R.I., where he anglicized his surname to Updike, became a substantial landowner, & held several public offices. He had one son & five daughters, Sarah among them; the son, Daniel, served for several years as attorney general of the colony of Rhode Island.

Sarah’s education included not only the subjects usual to the day but also French & Latin from a French tutor in the Updike household. On Dec. 11, 1735, she was married to Dr. Giles Goddard of Groton, Conn., like herself a member of the Church of England, & he practiced medicine & was for many years postmaster. Of their four children, only two, Mary Katherine & William, lived to adulthood. Presumably Mrs. Goddard taught the two children herself, though William later mentioned having in a school as a child. On Jan. 31, 1757, Giles Goddard died, leaving an estate valued at 780 pounds. When William Goddard in 1762 started Providence’s first printing shop & newspaper, the Providence Gazette, the money (300 pounds) too set up the business came from his mother, who in the same year moved from New London to Providence. Both Mrs. Goddard & her daughter doubtless worked in the shop, since both became accomplished printers.

Lacking enough subscribers, William Goddard temporarily ceased publication of the Providence Gazette on May 11, 1765, & moved to New York, but the Providence printing office continued to function under the supervision of his mother. During the rest of 1765 the shop issued the annual West’s Almanack & various pamphlets under the imprint “S. & W. Goddard.” When, on Aug. 9, 1766, the Providence Gazette was revived, it was under the auspices of “Sarah Goddard & Company,” Sarah thereby becoming Providence’s second printer. She continued to print the weekly newspaper & run a bookstore & bookbindery until Nov. 5, 1768, when the business was sold to a partner, John Carter, for $550. Her bluestocking inclinations are revealed by her printing in 1766 the first American edition of the Letters of the Right Honourable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

After the sale of her Providence business Sarah Goddard joined her son in Philadelphia, where he was printing the Pennsylvania Chronicle; her financial assistance aided him in his struggle with his silent partners, Joseph Galloway & Thomas Wharton. In Philadelphia, Sarah Goddard remained mostly in the background, though she occasionally supervised the shop during William’s frequent trips to New England in 1769.

She died in Philadelphia & was buried in the Christ Church burial ground. An obituary in New-York Gazette of Jan. 22, 1770, eulogized “her uncommon attainments in literature,” “sincere piety,” “unaffected humility,” “easy agreeable chearfulness & affability,” & “sensible & edifying conversation.” In spite of her restless & selfish son, her daughter, Mary Katherine Goddard, carried on the family tradition. 

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

18C Portrait of an American Woman

 Mrs. John Dart, Henrietta Isabella Sommers (1750–1783).  1772 Jeremiah Theus (American, Chur, 1716–1774 Charleston, South Carolina)  The Metropolitan Museum of Art tells us that Henrietta Isabella Sommers (1750–1783) was the daughter of Humphrey Sommers, a successful building contractor in Charleston, South Carolina. She was married to John Dart. The costume in this portrait was probably based on a print, since it is unlikely that Mrs. Dart possessed an ermine-trimmed robe. Theus probably painted her face from life and the clothing in his studio, with a mezzotint before him.

Monday, October 16, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1797 Jacques Grasset of Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Costumes of Different Countries, Los Angeles County Art Museum 

Across the 18C globe, women's dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far away places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Clementina Rind 1740-1774, Printer for Thomas Jefferson & Editor of the Virginia Gazette

Clementina Rind (1740-1774), printer & newspaper editor, wife of William Rind, public printer in Maryland & Virginia, is said to have been a native of Maryland. She may have been the daughter of William Elder (1707-1775) & his wife Jacoba Clementina Livers (1717-1807) of Prince George’s County, Maryland. The name Clementina often referred to James, the Old Pretender to the English throne, & his wife Jacoba Clementina.

Her husband, born in Annapolis in 1733, was reared there as apprentice to the public printer, Jonas Green. During the 7-year period of his partnership with Green (1758-65) young Rind acquired town property, a home, & his wife, Clementina. In 1758, that the firm of "Green & Rind" was formed for the purpose of carrying on the newspaper. The junior partner, it seems, did not enter into the ordinary business of the establishment; his name appeared on none of its imprints except that of the Maryland Gazette. To protest the Stamp Act the partners suspended publication of the Maryland Gazette in October 1765, & shortly thereafter Rind accepted the invitation of a group of Virginians to publish a “free paper” in Williamsburg.

"Until the beginning of our revolutionary disputes," wrote Thomas Jefferson to Isaiah Thomas 43 years later, "we had but one press, & that having the whole business of the government, & no competitor for public favor, nothing disagreeable to the governor could be got into it. We procured Rind to come from Maryland to publish a free paper."
The first issue of Rind’s Virginia Gazette appeared May 16, 1766, under the motto: “Open to ALL PARTIES, but Influenced by NONE.” The press, the paper & the printer quickly established a good reputation. The fall assembly chose Rind as public printer, & in spite of rising costs of paper & other supplies the business prospered. When the editor died in August 1773, his family was living on the Main street in the present Ludwell-Paradise House & the printing shop was operated in the same handsome brick building.  His widow Clementina immediately took over the editorship & business management of the press for her “dear infants”- William, John, Charles, James, & Maria. The household included also a kinsman, John Pinkney; an apprentice, Isaac Collins; & a Negro slave, Dick who probably worked as a semiskilled artisan.
As editor Mrs. Rind was careful to preserve the integrity of the newspaper’s motto & purpose. Reports of foreign & domestic occurrences, shipping news, & advertisements were supplemented by essays, articles, & poems accepted from contributors or selected from her “general correspondence” & from London magazines & newspapers. During her short tenure as publisher, Rind's periodical highlighted new scientific research, debates on education, & philanthropic causes, as well as plans for improving educational opportunities-especially those relating to the College of William & Mary.

Clementina Rind Rind was not hesitant to express her own voice in the Virginia Gazette. She wrote articles that expressed her patriotic ideals, which supported rights of the American colonies & denounced British authority.  During her tenure, the Virginia Gazette carried an unusual number of poetic tributes to ladies in acrostic or rebus form, literary conceits, & news reports with a feminine slant. As conventional fillers she used sprightly vignettes of life in European high society, in rural England, & in other colonies.

Mrs. Rind was peculiarly sensitive to the good will of contributors & usually explained why specific offerings were not being published promptly. Sometimes, however, contributions were summarily rejected. Scarcely three months after Rind’s death her competitor, Alexander Purdie, published an anonymous open letter criticizing her refusal to print an article exposing the misconduct of some of “the guilty Great.” Her dignified reply, published in her own paper the next week, demonstrated independence, good sense, & literary skill.  She had rejected the article, she wrote, because it was an anonymous attack on the character of private persons & should be heard in a court of law, not in a newspaper; yet she promised: “When the author gives up his name, it shall, however repugnant to my inclination, have a place in this paper, as the principles upon which I set out will then, I flatter myself, plead my excuse with every party.” In later issues of her gazette contributors often expressed healthy respect for her standards & literary judgment.  Her bid for public favor was so well received, that she expanded her printing program & in April 1774, after 6 months as editor, announced the purchase of “an elegant set of types from London.” A month later the House of Burgesses appointed her public printer in her own right, & they continued to give her press all the public business in sprite of competing petitions from Purdie & Dixon, publishers of a rival Virginia Gazette.
In early 1774, she printed Thomas Jefferson's A Summary View of the Rights of British America just after Peyton Randolph read it aloud in his home to a gathering of Virginia patriots. George Washington was among the first to purchase a copy, writing in his diary that it cost him 3 shillings and ninepence. The pamphlet was reprinted in Philadelphia and London, and its importance has been described as "second only to the Declaration of Independence." It was a document Jefferson had drafted at Monticello for the guidance of Virginia's delegates to the Continental Congress. The colony's House of Burgesses considered the composition too radical for official endorsement, but a group of Jefferson's friends persuaded the Widow Rind to issue it as a pamphlet. Thus A Summary View of the Rights of British America appeared in August 1774. The future author of the Declaration of Independence later wrote: "If it had any merit, it was that of first taking our true ground, and that which was afterwards assumed and maintained."  At the end of August, however, she became ill & found it difficult to collect payments due her; yet her pride in her work & her optimistic plans for the future were undiminished. She died in Williamsburg a only a month later & was probably buried beside her husband at Bruton Parish Church.  Her readers prepared a number of poetic eulogies & a formal elegy of 150 lines. Although Clementina Rind lived only about 34 years, her brief obituary read, "a Lady of singular Merit, and universally esteemed."

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1797 Jacques Grasset of Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Costumes of Different Countries, Los Angeles County Art Museum 

Across the 18C globe, women's dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far away places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Jane Aitken (1764-1832) Philadelphia Printer, Publisher, Bookbinder, & Bookseller.

Neues Bilderbuch für Kinder, 1799

Jane Aitken (1764-1832) was an early American printer, publisher, bookbinder, & bookseller.  Aitken was born in Paisley, Scotland, on July 11, 1764. She was the 1st of 4 children that grew to adulthood in the family. Her father was Robert Aitken (1734–1802), a Scottish stationery & book merchant who later became a Philadelphia printer & bookbinder. Her mother’s maiden name was Janet Skeoch. Aitken & her family were among several Scottish families that emigrated to colonial British America in 1771. The Aitken family settled in Philadelphia, their port of importation. Aitken was involved with her father's Philadelphia publishing business, which consisted of a print shop & bindery. Her handwritten bookkeeping notes show that the print shop printed a newspaper, journals, books, & stationery. She inherited the printing business from her father's estate after his death in 1802 when she was 38 years of age. The publications were thereafter in her own name as Printed by Jane Aitken from her printing business, which she ran on Third Street in Philadelphia. Her father's estate came with a heavy debt of $3,000. Her brother, Robert Aitken Jr., who was a year younger than she & had been disowned by their father, was financially incapable to assist in this debt. Jane, being the oldest child, assumed the responsibility of caring for her 2 younger sisters, as her mother had previously died. She never married.

She was responsible for printing a number of publications after she took over her father's business, including contracts from the American Philosophical Society, the Philadelphia Female Association, & the Philadelphia Society for Promoting Agriculture, to name just a few. At least 60 of her published works are known from the period 1802 to 1812. Her most important work, according to the contemporary historian of printing Isaiah Thomas, was the four-volume Thomson Bible of 1808, which firmly established Jane's Aitken's reputation. This Bible was a new translation prepared by Charles Thomson, former secretary of the Continental Congress, the first English translation from the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament). 

Aitken's bookbinding business sometimes gave more support to the family than the actual printing part of the business. She bound many of the author's books she printed up, work for the Athenaeum of Philadelphia & some 400 volumes for the American Philosophical Society. Binding work of the 1780s to 1802 from her father's shop shows similarity to her binding work she did from 1802 to 1812 & shows that perhaps she did most if not all the binding work from his shop when she was younger.

John Vaughan, a friend & a librarian from the American Philosophical Society, gave her much work & even some financial assistance, but her business failed in 1813, & her equipment was sold off. Vaughan bought the equipment at a sheriff's sale & leased it back to her at under the going market rate, however after she failed again in 1814, she was put into debtors' prison at the Norristown Jail, 20 miles outside Philadelphia. She basically is unheard of in historical records other than the "late printer," until her death record of 1832, appearing in an obituary in Germantown, Pennsylvania. Her burial place is assumed to be in the destroyed cemetery of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, of which she was a member.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

18C Portrait of an American Woman

Mrs. John Winthrop 1773 John Singleton Copley (American, Boston, Massachusetts 1738–1815 London)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art tells us that Hannah Fayerweather (1727–1790) was the daughter of Thomas and Hannah Waldo Fayerweather. She was baptized at the First Church in Boston in February 12, 1727. She was married twice, in 1745 to Parr Tolman and in 1756 to John Winthrop, a professor of mathematics and natural history at Harvard University and a noted astronomer. Although this portrait has traditionally been dated 1774, a receipt dated June 24, 1773, places its execution in the previous year. The portrait is one of a number in which Copley prominently featured a beautifully reflective tabletop.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1797 Jacques Grasset of Saint-Sauveur (France, 1757-1810), Costumes of Different Countries, Los Angeles County Art Museum

Across the 18C globe, women's dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far away places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Ann Donavan Timothy 1727-1792 - 2nd Female Publisher of the South Carolina Gazette

Ann Timothy (c1727-1792), printer & newspaper publisher, was born Ann Donavan, probably in Charleston, S.C. At St. Phillip’s Church in Charleston, on Dec. 8, 1745, she married Peter Timothy (1725-1782), who about this time became publisher of the South Carolina Gazette, the colony’s first permanent newspaper, earlier published by his father, Lewis Timothy, & his mother, Elizabeth.

The Gazette had been founded in 1731, by Thomas Whitmarsh, a protege of Benjamin Franklin. He was replaced in 1734, by another Franklin protege, Lewis Timothee (Timothy), a Huguenot. When Lewis died in 1738, his widow Elizabeth, with the help of her son Peter, continued the paper as the 1st woman editor & publisher in America. 

Later Peter Timothy, aided by his wife, the former Ann Donovan, made the South Carolina Gazette a major Patriot organ. For that reason, its publication was suspended during the British occupation, 1780-83.  Displaced by the British occupation of Charleston, the patriot Peter Timothy & his family went to Philadelphia in 1781. In the following year, Timothy & two of his daughters embarked for Santo Domingo & were lost at sea. Ann Timothy returned in 1782, to Charleston, where on July 16, 1783, like her widowed mother-in-law 43 years before, she resumed publication of the Gazette of the State of South Carolina (Peter Timothy had renamed the paper in 1777). With the assistance of one E. Walsh, she published the newspaper (renamed again in 1785, the State Gazette of South Carolina) until her death in 1792.
The South Carolina Gazette was published in this house at 106 Broad Street in Charleston.

Ann Timothy was the 2nd woman in South Carolina & the 2nd in her family to become the publisher of a newspaper. In addition to publishing the Gazette, she obtained the post of “Printer to the State,” which she held, apparently, from 1785 until her death. At least 15 imprints were issued under her name from 1783 to 1792. One of the first seals of South Carolina appeared on March 28, 1785, in the nameplate of the State Gazette of South Carolina, a Charleston newspaper. The paper was published by Ann Timothy, the official state's printer.Ann Timothy died in Charleston in 1792, at the age of 65. At the time of her death, her living children were Sarah (unmarried), Robert, Elizabeth Anne (Mrs. Peter Valton), Frances Claudia (Mrs. Benjamin Lewis Merchant), & Benjamin Franklin Timothy. Benjamin Timothy inherited the Gazette & published it, until his retirement from the printing business in 1802, at which time the 69-year-old South Carolina printing & newspaper family dynasty came to an end.

This posting based, in part, on information from Notable American Women edited by Edward T James, Janet Wilson James, Paul S Boyer, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 1971

Saturday, October 7, 2017

18C Women Across the Globe

1770s Bunka Fashion College in Japan. Underneath the illustration the word Dutch is handwritten in pencil. Netherlands

Across the 18C globe, women's dress varied widely. In the early 1700s, British & British American colonial women dressed similarly, but they could get an idea how women in far away places also might dress from clothing & costume drawings, which were becoming more popular & more widely available at the time.

The clothing worn by 18C British American women was characterized by great diversity, as one would expect in a society ranging from royal governors & wealthy landowners to indentured servants & slaves. During the period in Britain & her colonies, a woman's dress usually consisted of a gown & petticoat. The gown consisted of the bodice & skirt joined together, with the skirt open in the front to reveal the separate petticoat, which was an essential part of the dress & not an undergarment. The textiles used for the dress ranged from elegant to simple depending on the tasks of the wearer. As the New Republic of The United States of America was finding its way between the 1780s & 1800, a very noticeable change took place in the female British/American silhouette. The waistline climbed higher, until it reached the bust. The skirt was reduced in width & hoop petticoats were discarded except at very formal occasions.

Friday, October 6, 2017

1738 South Carolina Newspaper Publisher - Immigrant & Widow Elizabeth Timothy

Elizabeth Timothy (d. 1757), printer & newspaper publisher, was born in Holland. She left Holland in 1731, with her husband Lewis & their 4 young children, all under the age of 6, sailing from Rotterdam in 1731, with other French Huguenots fleeing the Edict of Nantz, arriving in Philadelphia that September.

The family settled in Philadelphia, where Timothée, fluent in French, advertised in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette that he would like to tutor French. The ever-practical Franklin saw a potential opportunity with the multi-lingual Timothee & persuaded him to become the editor of the 1st German newspaper in the colony Philadelphische Zeitung, but the operation lasted only for 2 months. Although the German paper failed, Franklin must have been impressed with Timothée, for he next became librarian of Franklin’s Philadelphia Library Company, & a journeyman printer at Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette. Franklin was teaching Timothee the printing business.Franklin had contracted with Thomas Whitmarsh, to Charles Town to establish the South-Carolina Gazette. Not long after the paper began publication, Whitmarsh died of yellow fever & Timothée was persuaded to take his place.

Franklin & Timothée signed a 6-year contract with Franklin furnishing the press & other equipment, paying 1/3 of the expenses, & receiving 1/3 of the profits from the joint venture. The contract included a clause declaring that if Timothee died, his son Peter would take over the operation.

In 1733, Timothée did revive the South-Carolina Gazette, the colony’s first permanent newspaper. The early issues of the Gazette listed Louis Timothée as the publisher, but he soon anglicized his name to "Lewis Timothy."  The following year, his wife & children joined him in Charles Town, where they became members of St. Philip's Anglican Church. Timothée also helped organize a subscription postal system originating at his printing office &, in 1736, obtained a land grant of 600 acres & a town lot in Charles Town.  But 2 years later, Lewis Timothy died in an accident in December 1738. Without missing an issue, his widow continued publication of the Gazette in the name of her eldest son, Peter, who was then about 13 years old. A year remained on the contract with Franklin.  Because of her son's youth, Elizabeth Timothy assumed control of the printing operation. The publisher, however, was listed as Peter Timothy to comply with the contract. She asked the paper’s readers "to continue their Favors and good Offices to this poor afflicted Widow and six small children and another hourly expected."

As official printer for the province, Elizabeth Timothy printed acts & other proceedings for the Assembly. In addition to the Gazette, she printed books, pamphlets, tracts, & other publications. The colophon "Peter Timothy" appeared after each. However, she made most of the decisions in the operation of the business.  In addition to the newspaper, at least 20 imprints were issued during the years (1739-45) of Elizabeth Timothy’s connection with the printing business. According to Benjamin Franklin, the widow was far superior to her husband in the operation of the business.

In his autobiography, Franklin described Timothy as "a man of learning, & honest but ignorant in matters of account; & tho' he sometimes made me remittances, I could get no account from him, nor any satisfactory state of our partnership while he lived."  On the other hand, Franklin found that Elizabeth Timothy “continu’d to account with the greatest Regularity & Exactitude every Quarter afterwards; & manag’d the Business with such Success that she not only brought up reputably a Family of Children, but at the Expiration of the Term was able to purchase of me the Printing House & establish her Son in it.”

When Peter Timothy turned 21 in 1746, he assumed operation of the Gazette, & his mother opened a book & stationery store next door to the printing office on King Street.  In a Gazette ad published in October 1746, she announced the availability of books such as pocket Bibles, spellers, primers, & books titled Reflections on Courtship & Marriage, Armstrong's Poem on Health, The Westminster Confession of Faith, & Watts' Psalms & Hymns. She also offered bills of lading, mortgages, bills of sale, writs, ink powder, & quills to local South Carolinians.

She operated her shop for about a year, but during that time she advertised in the Gazette that she planned to leave the province & asked that anyone who owed money to her or to her husband's estate settle their debts within 3 months.  It is unclear when she left Charles Town or where she made her new home. But by 1756, she had returned to Charles Town: & on April 2, 1757, she wrote her will & died within a month. Her property included 3 houses, a tract of land, & 8 slaves.

Lewis & Elizabeth Timothy had 6 children: Peter, Louisa (Mrs. James Richards), Charles (d. September 1739), Mary Elizabeth (Mrs. Abraham Bourquin), Joseph (d. October 1739), & Catherine (Mrs. Theodore Trezevant). Their son Peter Timothy (c.1725-1782) continued to publish the South-Carolina Gazette, gained distinction as one of the leading American printers of his generation, & was prominent in South Carolina’s Revolutionary movement.